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Afghanistan floods kill 17, worsen already desperate situation

Flooded streets and fields in Afghanistan. Photograph:( Reuters )

AFP Kabul, Afghanistan Mar 30, 2019, 03.51 PM (IST)

Heavy rains caused flash floods in western Afghanistan that killed at least 17 people, destroying homes and sweeping through makeshift shelters that housed displaced families, a government official said on Saturday.

The floods, which started on Thursday, worsen an already desperate situation. Hundreds of thousands of people are displaced in western Afghanistan from last year's severe drought. Floods in early March caused further destruction and put this year's wheat harvest at risk.

A spokesman for Afghanistan's National Disaster Management Authority said two people had been killed in Herat, but officials there but the death toll higher. Dr. Abdul Hakim Tamana, head of public health for the province, said eight people were killed and nine injured.

Floods have destroyed hundreds of homes, some historic sites, thousands of acres of farmland, bridges and highways, said Jilani Farhad, a spokesman for Herat province. Aid organization World Vision said in a statement it appeared tens of thousands of Afghans were affected. Some Badghis residents were calling it the worst storm in 20 years, it said.

Story highlights

The floods, which started on Thursday, worsen an already desperate situation. Hundreds of thousands of people are displaced in western Afghanistan from last year's severe drought. Floods in early March caused further destruction and put this year's wheat harvest at risk.